Jason Robinson calls on British and Irish Lions to pledge a united anti-racist stance on tour of South Africa | Rugby Union News
Jason Robinson urges British and Irish Lions to take united anti-racist stance on South Africa tour; Robinson discusses the need to keep the conversation going and his pride in seeing more players of color on rugby’s highest stage; watch the Lions vs South Africa series, live on Sky Sports
Last updated: 11/06/21 23:07
World Cup winner and two-time British and Irish Lions tourist Jason Robinson called on the Lions to engage in a united anti-racist stance on their tour of South Africa.
The Lions will tour the country from July 3 to August 7, playing five touring games and a three-test series against the Springboks, live on Sky Sports.
Robinson, who selected 51 caps for England between 2001 and 2007, toured with the Lions in 2001 and 2005, and became a World Cup winner in 2003. He said, in light of the controversy surrounding the ‘England football team who knelt down and booed by their own fans, that all anti-racist action by the Lions must be united.
South African rugby director Rassie Erasmus also recently suggested that the Springboks will not kneel before games, but instead continue their own anti-racism campaigns.
What would Robinson like to see the Lions players do on this tour?
âThe bottom line is that they are united on what they are trying to do,â said Robinson, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, an official sponsor of the Lions Tour in South Africa.
âThere’s a lot of talk around anti-racism right now and we’re still not there. We see it in a lot of other sports, you know, we’ve seen it a lot in football lately. and this is something that needs to be addressed.
“The bottom line is that we keep talking about it – the discussions that need to take place – and we need to be united, and the players have shown that.
âWhether it was a knee or not, I think a lot of players came out and said, ‘Look, we are supporting. “
“You are looking at South Africa, the first black captain in Siya (Kolisi), so they will certainly understand the need to support what is a very, very strong message and which tackles racism, not just in sport but fair in society.
“You have to decide as a group what you are going to do, and for me as long as Lions are committed to it, and the mindset is to fight racism and support those affected by racism. , it is essential.”
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In the 2003 World Cup winning England team, Robinson – as he has already pointed out – was the only black player.
On the 2021 Lions tour, the late inclusion of England’s tight-headed Kyle Sinckler in the squad following Andrew Porter’s injury withdrawal brought the number of colored players included to seven: Sinckler ( England), Maro Itoje (England, Courtney Lawes (England), Anthony Watson (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales) and Bundee Aki (Ireland).
“It’s great to see more and more black players in there, especially when you watch young black kids running, now they have inspirations like (Maro) Itoje,” Robinson added.
âThey’ll look up and think, ‘Well, this is something I can do, is this something I can be.’
“For me, going back to when I played and being the first black captain of the England 15 team, it’s extremely important that children can aspire and not be held back just because of the colour.
âThere is good work going on right now, but we need to do more.
“We have to come together and again it’s a conversation sometimes where people just don’t know how to approach it, don’t know how to talk about it, but I think if we all share our experiences I think it’s okay. a long way for everyone to understand how this affects us.
“Because if you’ve never been a victim of racial violence, how do you know what it is?”
“I’ve had this in my career, I know playing sports can be one of the best things you can do, but being racially abused is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you, we have to so continue, we must continue to come together and work together to eradicate it from sport and society. “